A nonprofit is making progress in Ohio in facilitating the exit of public sector union employees from those unions.
“For some reason, the First Amendment right for people to leave public sector unions is the best-kept secret,” Freedom Foundation Ohio State Director Lauren Bowen told The Ohio Star. “Their hard earned money does not have to be directed to union coffers via union dues.”
The campaign is largely based on a grassroots, door-to-door effort to speak to public sector union employees, and inform them of their options.
Typically dominated by Democrats, the Freedom Foundation thinks those Democrats who run public sector unions are abiding by their most basic agreements to provide a better workplace environment for their employees.
“[The reaction] is mixed,” Bowen said. “We’re in a bellwether state here in Ohio. You will have people who are loyal to unions. We’re not anti-union. We just want unions to function the way they promised they would. When we phrase it that way, they’re very receptive.”
Bowen said the COVID-19 pandemic was an example of how public sector unions have failed their members.
She said union members were largely split on whether COVID-19 vaccines should be mandated. But, she said, with the exception of teachers’ unions, most of the public sector unions refused to take a stance, thus failing to provide any service, no matter which side of the debate their members were on.
Teachers’ unions are a completely different story, according to Bowen.
“In the education arena, it started with mandates and COVID policies, and the teachers’ unions did weigh in a lot on mandates and masking of children, but that evolved into advocating Critical Race Theory [CRT],” she said.
She noted that individual teachers are not largely responsible for creating CRT curriculum, but that “unions are major influencers in the education” and “teachers are used to using them as a resource.”
The Freedom Foundation’s education campaign has been successful so far.
After speaking to union members, some call the Freedom Foundation and say they’re ready to leave their union. The Freedom Foundation then helps facilitate that process.
“Ultimately, we’re running this truth-telling mission here in Ohio,” Bowen said. “We put facts in front of these union members – radical candidates they’ve vote for, radical policies – we even help union members understand that if they have a 30-year career they’ll pay $35,000 in union dues in the aggregate. ‘Defund the police’ is supported by their union dues. Planned Parenthood is supported by their union dues.”
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Pete D’Abrosca is a reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Lauren Bowen” by Freedom Foundation. Background Photo “Union Protest” by Charles Edward Miller. CC BY-SA 2.0.